Baltzersens

A shot of the guest espresso at Baltzersens in Harrogate, served in a handleless cup.Baltzersens has been around since 2012, when it joined Harrogate pioneers, Bean & Bud, which is just five minutes’ walk away from Baltzersens’ town centre location on Oxford Street. A curious blend of Yorkshire and Scandinavia, Baltzersens is a café by day, before morphing into a restaurant, Norse, in the evenings (which is outside of the scope of this Coffee Spot). From the outside, it doesn’t look big enough to house a restaurant, but Baltzersens goes a long way back, before ending in a large room which opens off to the right. There’s also a generous amount of outdoor seating on the pedestrianised street.

When it opened, Baltzersens was known more for its food than for its coffee, but these days it stands comparison with the best of them. The food, which is Scandinavian-inspired, is still excellent, with breakfast served until noon, when lunch takes over. This is joined by a small all-day brunch selection and plenty of excellent-looking cakes. The coffee, meanwhile, is from North Star in Leeds, which supplies the seasonal house-blend, plus rotating guests on the second grinder, which change on a monthly basis. There is also a monthly filter option from another Leeds roaster, Maude Coffee.

You can read more of my thoughts after the gallery.

  • Baltzersens on Harrogate's Oxford Street, looking very small and compact.
  • There's plenty of outside seating though. I particularly liked the bright green chairs.
  • It's a coffee shop by day (left) and restaurant by night (right).
  • Stepping inside, the counter is immediately to your right...
  • ... while to the left are the retail shelves.
  • It's long and thin, and much bigger than it looked outside. There are tables on the left...
  • ... and, beyond the counter on the right, a bar.
  • Past the kitchen (which is through the hatch to the right), there are more tables to the left.
  • Finally, to the right, there's a large, open space behind the kitchen with tables like this one.
  • There are works of art for sale on the wall.
  • Baltzersens is blessed with many lights such as these hanging over the tables on the left...
  • ... and these exposed bulbs hanging over the bar on the right.
  • Obligatory close-up.
  • Another another one.
  • Back to the counter, which is where you order when you first come in.
  • The cakes are here too, which you have to file past to get to the till.
  • There are even more cakes right next to the door...
  • ... including these lovely buns.
  • The coffee part of the operation is right at the end of the counter.
  • The drinks menu is on the wall at the back behind the till...
  • ... although it's not just coffee, as you can see here, to the right of the menu!
  • However, there is also lots of coffee to be had. The EK-43 is for the filter coffee...
  • ... which is brewed over here.
  • Meanwhile there are two grinders for espresso, the house-blend (North Star) and the guest...
  • ... which, while I was there, was from Sundlaug.
  • The guest espresso in a lovely handleless cup...
  • ... and my lunch, avocado on toast, with lots of extras!
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On the north side of the pedestrianised Oxford Street, you can’t really miss Baltzersens. In particular, the bright green chairs, part of the outside seating, stand out. That said, the façade is fairly modest, with a grey colour scheme and a small, square frontage, recessed door to the left and windows to the right. Outside, there are three square tables on the left, with the aforementioned bright green chairs, while on the right, two long, communal tables are placed end-to-end, with benches for seating. Rows of planters on either side give the outdoor seating a surprisingly secluded feel.

Inside, Baltzersens initially feels quite small. It’s rather narrow, with a large counter running back from the windows on the right, while to the left, a set of retail shelves line the walls. The seating is beyond the counter, which is when you begin to realise that Baltzersens goes a long way back. Although unusual, this counter-first layout is very sensible given the space, keeping the queue away from people who are eating/drinking, although it can lead to the area around the door getting rather crowded. It’s also not immediately clear that you should find a table first, then return to order, which entails squeezing past any queue at the counter.

Baltzersens starts off thin, with five two-person tables along a bench against the left-hand wall. Baltzersens has sensibly resisted putting more tables opposite these on the right hand wall beyond the counter. Instead there’s a five-person bar with large, square bar-stools, leaving plenty of space down the middle for people to come and go.

Just when you think that this might be it, Baltzersens keeps on going. The kitchen is past the bar on the right, visible through the serving hatch, after which the space opens out to the right, giving Baltzersens an L-shape. On the left, there’s a cosy little wooden nook containing a two-person table, then comes another long bench-seat with six two-person tables.

To the right, in the bottom of the L, there’s more seating. A third bench runs along the kitchen wall, with four two-person tables, while at the back, the bottom of the L is actually wedge-shaped, widening out to the right. There are two two-person tables against the back wall and two more against the end of the L. All the tables can be pushed together to make four-person tables as required.

Windows to front and back give a reasonable amount of natural light. A wooden floor runs throughout, with white tiles on the walls at the front, white walls at the back and a white ceiling. This could be clinical, but it’s not. Instead numerous light fittings give it a warm, cosy feel, particularly on the winter’s morning I was there.

The Scandinavian-inspired menu has open sandwiches and waffles, which I was very tempted by. However, I had the avocado on (rye-bread) toast. This consisted of half an avocado, topped by shredded fennel (a pleasant surprise) with roasted tomatoes on the side, plus garlic aioli and lingonberry ketchup. This was delicious and an impressive twist on an old classic.

I was there in December when North Star’s Christmas Blend was on espresso and the guest espresso was a single-origin Kenya Gakuyuini Peaberry from Sundlaug Coffee. Meanwhile, the bulk-brew filter was Maude’s Ethiopian Duromina. I tried the Kenyan as an espresso. Served in a lovely, handleless cup, it was bright, but not excessively so. It gave me a jolt (rather than a punch in the mouth) with the first sip and after that it mellowed to provide a very smooth and well-balanced cup.

22 OXFORD STREET • HARROGATE • HG1 1PU
www.baltzersens.co.uk +44 (0) 1423 202363
Monday 08:00 – 17:00 Roaster North Star + Guests (espresso + filter)
Tuesday 08:00 – 17:00 Seating Tables, Bar, Tables (outside)
Wednesday 08:00 – 17:00 Food Breakfast, Lunch, Cake
Thursday 08:00 – 17:00 Service Order at Counter
Friday 08:00 – 17:00 Cards Amex, Mastercard, Visa
Saturday 08:00 – 17:00 Wifi Free (with code)
Sunday 10:00 – 16:00 Power Limited
Chain No Visits 4th December 2016

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